ALTANA AG has significantly increased consolidated sales by 18 percent to almost €3.9 billion in the business year 2006 – the last one in its former group structure. Adjusted for exchange rate, divestment and acquisition effects, ALTANA achieved an operating sales growth of 9 percent. This growth was mainly driven by foreign business (operating growth: +12 percent), while operating domestic sales were 8 percent down on the prior year due to the reduction of reference prices in the pharmaceuticals division. As a result, the share of international business increased to 84 percent.
ALTANA Pharma AG, Konstanz, which was sold to the Danish Nycomed group as per the end of 2006, achieved sales of almost €2.6 billion, corresponding to an increase of 9 percent.
ALTANA Chemie AG, Wesel, whose operations will be continued under the name ALTANA, was able to increase sales by 43 percent to nearly €1.3 billion in 2006. On the one hand, this strong growth is due to the acquisition of the ECKART group. On the other hand, the very good operating performance of all divisions contributed to this excellent development. Adjusted for divestment and acquisition as well as exchange rate effects, ALTANA Chemie achieved a double-digit operating sales growth of 10 percent.
At €223 million, domestic sales were up 57 percent on the prior year. At €1.07 billion, foreign business was up 40 percent. Due to acquisitions, the American region reported the strongest growth of 61 percent to €331 million. Thanks to the strong revival in demand in China, business in Asia was up by 39 percent to €297 million. Sales in Europe excluding Germany exceeded the 2005 figure by 29%, amounting to €404 million.
All four divisions of ALTANA Chemie contributed to the good business performance with a significant growth in sales. Sales in the largest division, Additives & Instruments, climbed by 13 percent to €409 million. Effect Pigments (ECKART), the new division which has been consolidated since Oct. 1, 2005, contributed €339 million to sales in 2006. At €325 million, sales in the Electrical Insulation division were up 11 percent on the prior year. The Coatings & Sealants division reported a mainly acquisition-driven increase of 26 percent to €221 million.
The group’s operating earnings increased significantly thanks to double-digit growth rates in both divisions. At approximately 20 percent, the expected return on sales (EBT) of the group should again be significantly higher than the market-average despite the special expenses. This holds also true for the operating return figures (EBITDA) of both divisions: ALTANA Pharma expects an operating return of about 30 percent and for ALTANA Chemie of about 18 percent.
“With the sale of ALTANA Pharma AG and the concentration on the specialty chemicals business, ALTANA’s restructuring has now been completed. Thanks to the excellent business year 2006 we will propose to the Annual General Meeting, May 3, 2007, to significantly increase the dividend from €1.10 per share to probably €1.30 per share. So we say goodbye to our old Group structure with a record year – the 11th in succession,” said Dr. Nikolaus Schweickart, president and CEO of ALTANA AG.
Due to the excellent positioning and leading market positions of all four divisions, ALTANA AG expects its continued chemicals business to post an operating sales growth also in the business year 2007, which from today’s perspective should be in the mid single-digit percent range. The medium-range growth target is set at an average sales growth of 10 percent annually (thereof about 6 percent organic growth) with an above-average profitability of 18 to 20 percent EBITDA margin.